After spending several years in a semi sleep deprived state, I can truly attest to the fact that there’s absolutely nothing nicer than curling up on a comfortable bed, surrounded by soft sheets and pillows, and falling in to a deep, deep sleep … for at least eight hours.
My little boys are not quite at an age where they can rouse me from my sweet slumber with a cup of tea and a hot, buttered piece of toast, but it's rare to see their bed heads before 7.30am anymore. Something I'm truly, truly thankful for. Really, truly thankful. Six years of broken sleep; I'd almost give up hope of a full night ever again.
Now, my focus is no longer on snatching an hour of shuteye whenever I'm able, but instead on making good sleep a priority ... and that means creating the most snore-inducing environment possible!
I received some amazing advice when I went on a sleep retreat back in October. I learnt about foods and drinks to avoid before going to bed, avoiding sensory overload and the late night glare of a mobile phone, no coffee after midday, and how indulging in a warm bath before slipping between the sheets (brushed cotton if you get chilly; silk or bamboo if you're prone to hot flushes) signals to our brain that it's time to sleep.
And do you know how much of that amazing advice I've taken on board?
Virtually none of it ... other than the brushed cotton sheets but that's because they've always been a favourite of mine.
What the parenting books don't speak of is the sheer joy and excitement that you feel when your children finally sleep. And as a result? You stay up all night doing all the things that you've not been able to do since they were born. That pretty much entails avoiding none of the foods, actively participating in sensory overload, indulging in ALL the coffee and catching up on way too much trashy TV to even contemplate missing another episode to have a bath.
Admitting to all that, you're probably wondering how on earth I can claim to be making good sleep a priority then?
Well, let me introduce you to my secret sleep-related weapon ... the Emma mattress.
Everyone knows that if you want to achieve anything, then you need to master the basics. And this applies to a comfortable night's sleep, too.
The basics in this case?
A decent mattress.
But despite there being so many on the market, finding the right one, particularly when you share it with someone who has a different body type and sleeping position to you, can be really hard. For example, I sleep on my front (despite knowing it can lead to back and neck pain) and prefer a soft mattress, but Paul tends to sleep on his back (the best position for your spine) and prefers a firmer one.
We were both intrigued to try the Emma mattress because of its progressive sinking technology and the fact that it adjusts itself to your body type, regardless of your size or weight. The mattress reacts to how much pressure you put on it and gives you the maximum amount of comfort. Ingenious, right?
How do Emma achieve this level of comfort and support?
Well, that will be down to the layers. Sandwiched between a top cover that consists of special climate fibre to regulate humidity and the dark grey side cover that ensures optimal air circulation are four very special layers: an incredibly soft breathable layer which distributes weight evenly, pressure-relieving pocket springs, memory foam which adapts to the shape of your body, and a supportive layer of firm cold foam.
And those layers work. They really do. There'll be no more weekends spent wasting time trawling department stores and lying on a million mattresses to find one that works for us all, anymore.
Paul says it's the best mattress that he's ever slept on and I think that it's up there with the best, too. I've suffered from back and neck pain for years as a result of a car crash but don't wake up feeling achy anymore. And if the children join us in the middle of the night, the memory foam cushions their movement so it's sometimes a surprise to see their little faces come the morning.
At £379 for a single up to £749 for a super king, the Emma mattress is very competitively priced, especially as it's designed to last for ten years or more. And the ordering and delivery process is simple, too. The mattress arrives vacuum packed in a compact box and all you need to do is snip the plastic film with the cutting tool provided, place it on your bed, and watch it inflate before your very eyes.
Another plus is that the mattress is manufactured in Derby, right here in the UK (and is also available in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal and Poland). If you'd like to try the mattress for yourself, Emma offer a 100 night trial with a free return service and a full refund if it’s not right for you. I personally don't think you'll need to take them up on that, though.
I was sent an Emma mattress free of charge for the purpose of this post.